By Richmond County Medical Society
The management of chronic pain occurs within the broader context of health care, including psychosocial function and quality of life. There are multimodal and multidisciplinary interventions that use more than one therapy in their approach to treating those with chronic pain.
However, we suddenly are confronted with a major public health issue in our country: The abuse of opioid medications. According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, 2.4 million Americans ages 12 years and older initiated non-medical use of prescription pain medication in 2004, and an estimated 31.8 million have done so during their lifetime.
In 2001, there were more emergency room admissions for complications related to narcotic analgesic use than for heroin use. By 2004, emergency room visits resulting from narcotic pain reliever abuse had increased 163 percent since 1995.